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David Megginson


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From: (David Megginson) Subject: Mach/Minix/Linux/Gnu etc. Date: 1 Feb 92 17:11:03 GMT Organization: University of Toronto - EPAS   Well, this has been a fun discussion. I am absolutely convinced by Prof. Tanenbaum that a micro-kernel _is_ the way to go, but the more I look at the Minix source, the less I believe that it is a micro-kernel. I would probably not bother porting Linux to the M68000, but I want more services than Minix can offer.   What about a micro-kernel which is message/syscall compatible with MACH? It doesn't actually have to do everything that MACH does, like virtual memory paging -- it just has to _look_ like MACH from the outside, to fool programs like the future Gnu Unix-emulator, BSD, etc. This would extend the useful lives of our M68000- or 80286-based machines for a little longer. In the meantime, I will probably stay with Minix for my ST rather than switching back to MiNT -- after all, Minix at least looks like Unix, while MiNT looks like TOS trying to look like Unix (it has to, to be TOS compatible).   David

From: (peter da silva) Newsgroups: comp.os.minix Subject: What good does this war do? (Re: LINUX is obsolete) Date: 3 Feb 92 16:37:24 GMT Organization: Xenix Support, FICC   Will you quit flaming each other?   I mean, linux is designed to provide a reasonably high performance environment on a hardware platform crippled by years of backwards-compatible kludges. Minix is designed as a teaching tool. Neither is that good at doing the other's job, and why should they? The fact that Minix runs out of steam quickly (and it does) isn't a problem in its chosen mileau. It's sure better than the TOY operating system. The fact that Linux isn't transportable beyond the 386/AT platform isn't a problem when there are millions of them out there (and quite cheap: you can get a 386/SX for well under $1000).   A monolithic kernel is easy enough to build that it's worth doing it if it gets a system out the door early. Think of it as a performance hack for programmer time. The API is portable. You can replace the kernel with a microkernel design (and MINIX isn't the be-all and end-all of microkernel designs either: even for low end PCs... look at AmigaOS) without disturbing the applications. That's the whole point of a portable API in the first place.   Microkernels are definitely a better design for many tasks. I takes more work to make them efficient, so a simpler design that doesn't take advantage of the microkernel in any real way is worth doing for pedagogical reasons. Think of it as a performance hack for student time. The design is still good and when you can get an API to the microkernel interface you can get VERY impressive performance (thousands of context switches per second on an 8 MHz 68000).

Best regards,

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